England COVID lockdown blocks iPhone Upgrade Program

Posted:
in General Discussion
Under Apple's UK financial agreements, new and returning members of the iPhone Upgrade Program must go to an Apple Store -- and all ones in England are now closed because of the new coronavirus lockdown.

Apple Regent Street, London
Apple Regent Street, London


Despite previous reports that UK Apple Stores might remain open in a limited capacity during the country's new coronavirus lockdown, all of the stores in England closed today as the new lockdown began.

Stores in Scotland, and Wales, remain open with the same coronavirus precautions as before. Apple Stores in England are now announcing that they will reopen for click-and-collect, "including returns," from November 6.

However, it is confirmed that the version of the iPhone Upgrade Program in England is temporarily unavailable and will remain so until Stores in the region reopen.

This is because while the UK's iPhone Upgrade Program operates in the same way as the US one, it has different financial conditions. Users must physically go to a store to have a credit check done, whether as they join the program, or at each point when they are eligible to upgrade, and choose to do so.

Consequently while US customers have already been able to apply for pre-approval on the program in advance of the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max pre-orders on November 6, UK customers have not. For the time being, therefore, no UK can get the iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 12 Pro Max on the iPhone Upgrade Program.

An Apple customer email seen by AppleInsider says that the program is now delayed. "In the UK, the iPhone Upgrade Programme is only available from an Apple Store," it says. "Unfortunately, due to the new government restrictions, we cannot currently operate a full service in England and are therefore unable to invite you to the store at this time to upgrade your iPhone."

The email is presumed to have been sent to customers already on the program and based in England. It continues with a suggestion that, "if you would like to know more about your options for upgrading, please contact 0800 048 0408 where our teams will gladly assist you."

However, while that implies that alternative arrangements may be possible, they are not. That UK toll-free telephone number reaches an automated system that explains going to a store, with Government-issued ID, is mandatory.

"And of course, if you would rather wait until the restrictions are lifted," concludes the email, "we would be delighted to help you with the upgrade in our stores then."

Customers in England can't get the new iPhones, or any iPhones, on the Upgrade Program until the lockdown is over
Customers in England can't get the new iPhones, or any iPhones, on the Upgrade Program until the lockdown is over


The same situation will have applied during the country's original lockdown period, which began in March 2020. However, it's likely that the majority of people on the program are on it in order to upgrade as each new iPhone is released.

Consequently, a November lockdown following the iPhone 12 launch is much more significant.

England's new lockdown began today, November 5, and is expected to continue until December 2. In Wales, a separate lockdown is due to conclude on November 9.

Scotland does not have a lockdown, though one may be introduced shortly. Currently, Apple Stores in Scotland are showing as being open for online order pickup, and users can book appointments with sales staff or Genius Bar.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    I wondered about this... Looks like I’ll be waiting to join the program until December.  Hopefully, iPhone 12 Pro Max stock will be stable in stores by then and I won’t have to wait much longer after to get the capacity and colour I want. 

    Still a bummer...  Knowing me, I’ll probably break and just pay full price outright on day one as normal! 
  • Reply 2 of 12
    payecopayeco Posts: 449member
    It would have been nice to see some more background on why people have to go to the store for this. In the year 2020 it seems ridiculous to have to do this in person.
    larryjwkkqd1337
  • Reply 3 of 12
    So I don't get why UK customers were able to request online pre-approval of a 24 months loan with Barclays in advance before the launch of the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Mini. 
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Last time I returned an iPhone in the US, I simply mailed it back.

    I'm sure this isn't an insurmountable problem.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    So basically Apple is from what I can gather choosing the dangerous method. Waiting for lockdown to end, which will increase the queues for the upgrade program plus all of the other reasons for people to go to apple. They expect all customers to line up while people are walking about in their masses Christmas shopping. Altogether the infection rate will shoot up because we are forced into turning up to the shop in person instead being credit checked online and sent a swap box arriving at delivery address from what I've heard happens in the US. Or though lockdown period allow people to visit the stores and make it appointment only so this will control the influx of customers or stagger the arrivals instead of having too many people out at the same time when ALL shops open. Then again who's to say stores wont open until January (worst case) which must in some way break the contract of the Upgrade Program and the point of the program where we expect to get a new phone when a new one is released even if we have to wait a couple of days to a week and so we can get a new one when hopefully the next iPhone model will release in September next year. 
    Their method is punishing those just joining or first time reserving (in my case) or continuing the upgrade program under pre-tense we would get our upgrade. If we have lockdown for a new release iPhone anyone would assume Apple will follow through by doing what they can in the safest ways for everyone fairly (outright, finance or upgrade program) get the new model. I doubt because of the lockdown we can halt payments and the length of the contract either. 
  • Reply 6 of 12
    I do not understand this article as I have already pre-approved on the app - complete online at 13.00 tomorrow.  I am told by Apple support I can get my upgrade in the post and send back my old phone in a prepaid envelope or drop off at a store when open... obviously i will post whilst in lockdown.  So maybe this article is a bit out of date?
  • Reply 7 of 12
    DocUpdate said:
    I do not understand this article as I have already pre-approved on the app - complete online at 13.00 tomorrow.  I am told by Apple support I can get my upgrade in the post and send back my old phone in a prepaid envelope or drop off at a store when open... obviously i will post whilst in lockdown.  So maybe this article is a bit out of date?
    It is not. Pre-approved in UK was only for the 24months loan and not for the iPhone upgrade program. Quite sure of this
    muthuk_vanalingamkkqd1337
  • Reply 8 of 12
    This is super confusing...

    I've been a member of the iPhone Upgrade Programme in the UK since it started and this year I was able to get pre-approved for the first time and didn't need to go in store for a credit check - I just had the new iPhone mailed to me. I didn't have to return my old iPhone as I was at the end of my 2 year finance deal.

    Now that @justdiego mentioned that I might have signed up for a 24 month loan and not a renewal of the iPhone upgrade programme, I think he's right. I've checked back through all my emails and whilst I thought I was renewing the iPhone upgrade programme I've actually just taken our a 24 month loan. In practical terms there is no cost difference BUT it does mean I won't be able to upgrade my iPhone next year as easily which is super annoying. The fact that these two 'loans' exist side-by-side and are identical financial but not in terms of the experience is really confusing! It was never made clear to me that I wasn't signing up to the iPhone upgrade programme either so a big fail on Apple's behalf I think.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    jamess109 said:
    So basically Apple is from what I can gather choosing the dangerous method. Waiting for lockdown to end, which will increase the queues for the upgrade program plus all of the other reasons for people to go to apple. They expect all customers to line up while people are walking about in their masses Christmas shopping. Altogether the infection rate will shoot up because we are forced into turning up to the shop in person instead being credit checked online and sent a swap box arriving at delivery address from what I've heard happens in the US. Or though lockdown period allow people to visit the stores and make it appointment only so this will control the influx of customers or stagger the arrivals instead of having too many people out at the same time when ALL shops open. Then again who's to say stores wont open until January (worst case) which must in some way break the contract of the Upgrade Program and the point of the program where we expect to get a new phone when a new one is released even if we have to wait a couple of days to a week and so we can get a new one when hopefully the next iPhone model will release in September next year. 
    Their method is punishing those just joining or first time reserving (in my case) or continuing the upgrade program under pre-tense we would get our upgrade. If we have lockdown for a new release iPhone anyone would assume Apple will follow through by doing what they can in the safest ways for everyone fairly (outright, finance or upgrade program) get the new model. I doubt because of the lockdown we can halt payments and the length of the contract either. 
    Lol

    Seriously, its just a phone man

    not the end of the world. No big deal.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    payeco said:
    It would have been nice to see some more background on why people have to go to the store for this. In the year 2020 it seems ridiculous to have to do this in person.

    I thought this statement at the beginning of the article was pretty clear:
    Under Apple's UK financial agreements, new and returning members of the iPhone Upgrade Program must go to an Apple Store...
    Presumably, the relevant UK authorities thinks a requirement to show up in person is safer for the consumer than being able to do it through the mail.  They might be right, however inconvenient it is.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    Just spoke to someone at Apple and the following was news to me so thought best to share:

    As I think we all know, iPhone Upgrade Programme is suspended in the UK during lockdown due to it being in the policy that the person applying for credit needs to be physically present to apply.

    So we need to wait until the lockdown ends. When it does end, Apple will compensate people for the initial downpayment you would normally make when applying for an upgrade – £69.

    In order to get this, you have to upgrade within the first 8 weeks of the stores reopening.

     :) 


  • Reply 12 of 12
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,745member
    That's a nice surprise.  Good show Apple.
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